Forgiveness. It’s sometimes easier said than done.
I’ve struggled with it at times in my life.
I’m not talking about forgiving innocent slights- like when someone steps on your foot or shuts the door on you having not seen you there. I’m not talking about simple offences that stem from immaturity or lack of understanding; like when a child hits a sibling or throws a temper tantrum and says “I hate you” before they storm up to their room. I’m not talking about forgiving things like someone telling your secret in a weak moment to someone else or talking behind your back. People do that sometimes when they are angry or upset or frustrated. It’s easy to understand the human condition that caused them to offend. These things are easy to forgive.
The other night, I learned how to forgive a big thing.
It happened as I let go of “my story of us”.
I don’t know if letting go of the story allowed the forgiveness to flow in, or if the forgiving is what allowed me to let go of “my story of us”.
Maybe it happened all at the same time.
I had this anger brewing in me for a while, about 3 inches down from my solar plexus. It sat there like a lump of dough. Every time I thought about the situation and the cast of characters and the basic theme of the story, I felt that lump of dough swelling and rising under the humidity of my growing ire.
The above analogy just made me think of making a pizza today. I always get hungry when I blog.
It bothered me to be feeling this way and I didn’t want to be an angry person.
I didn’t want it to turn to hate.
It was quite possible that it was heading in that direction given that my jaw and fists were clenched at rest.
To complicate things I was beginning to hate that I was starting to hate.
And I wanted this awful thing out of me……
Hate is so…… blech!!!.
So I figured to get it out, I had to express it. Yet I didn’t want to direct it at any one else
If I kept it in, it might consume me making it impossible to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.
I had no idea how long it had been brewing before I noticed it was there.
I’ve been a busy gal!
So I wrote it out, 6 pages, single spaced, both sides of the paper, #8 font.
Again, I did not direct it towards a living being but it was a declaration of my complete frustration and disdain of situations and circumstances.
And when I was done, though feeling somewhat lighter, I knew the only way to be completely rid of it was to forgive.
I knew that I would feel better and it was the right thing to do but….
Another part of me didn’t want to. Not yet anyway……because I had more ruminating to do.
I had every reason to be angry. I was justified in feeling the way I felt.
And maybe just maybe if I hung onto the anger a little longer and got to say what I think I needed to say, I could change the situation which would change the minds of my cast of characters, thus changing the outcome and then onward to what I wanted the real story to be, not the one that was presently writing itself.
Then… holey noodle( tossed lightly in butter and garlic with a side of colourful veggies)! It hit me.
I wasn’t so much angry at what was presently happening. I wasn’t so much angry at the specifics of what was said and done- which is why there’s no real reason to review the specifics here.
I wasn’t so much angry at what the current story read like.
So what was the problem?
I realized there was a story behind the story. It was “my story of us.”
I had this “story of us”, in my head of how we should be, how I wanted us to be. It was a fabulous story.
When I wrote it, I stole a few ideas from these great shows I had seen on the black and white console T.V as a kid.
I incorporated a few ideas from listening to other people talk about their lives-all the good parts.
I took cues from every great love song and the messages expressed in every greeting card- the ones between parent and child, sweethearts, brothers and sisters and friends.
I read all the fairy tales.
And then I created” my story of us.” I think I had it written by the time I was 10 and added revisions through the years.
This story was beautiful and heartwarming. It was the story everyone envisions for themselves; A story of a life of comfort and safety, love and compassion, understanding and trust, connection and belonging.
I planned for holiday meals around a huge banquet table and children running wildly wearing their Sunday best. There were meaningful talks, lots of hugs and a string of good nights that echoed through the house as the lights went out. “Good night John Boy”.
Who wouldn’t want to be in that story? Who wouldn’t want that to be their story?
I did everything in my power to make sure that my story happened.
We all have them- our own collection of “stories of us”. Not you and I but you and whoever your cast of characters are.
We all have a preconceived idea of what a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, spouse and friend is.
And our pre conceived ideas and hopes for these relationships – the stories of us- run in the background of all our interactions. If everyone is on the same page- it’s a great read and it comes to life.
Amazing people have been in my life.
But, there were others that I have met along the way and well………..
That’s what I was angry about.
With them; even though I had my story of us and it was such a good story and really, it should have been the easiest most natural story; they or the stuff of life would not cooperate and let it happen.
It was so frustrating.
And I couldn’t understand why….why anyone would not want to be part of this great story. I couldn’t understand why the Universe or God would not let this happen.
Because I loved my cast of characters so much and wanted them to share in my great story, to not only be part of it but be the stars.
I tried all different ways to make things work over a ridiculous length of time. I read every tip I could on self improvement and how to make some relationships work. I tried the honest approach, telling them how I felt. I tried being gentle, more patient, more loving, removing judgement and being more understanding. I tried humour. I tried more patience, I tried optimism. I tried adjusting. I tried changing me.
I carefully listened to the public broadcasting show that said I could make this story happen if I tried harder or believed harder or said my affirmations 30 times a day for the next month.
It works for some stuff but not for this.
Then I took a deep breath, looked past the past; at what had been done and said.
I dug as far deep as I could go and I analysed it. I looked at the possibilities of why someone couldn’t go along with my wonderful story. Maybe their histories were too much a hurdle to overcome. I thought about what I knew of their past hurts. I thought about their inability to trust or believe they were worthy of such a good story. Maybe that’s why they couldn’t.
I thought about the possibility that “my story of us” that I had with them was only supposed to be a short story.
Maybe we were just supposed to be a little sonnet, or a haiku or a silly limerick.
Maybe the purpose of our time together was to be best summed up in a simple quote; the meaning of which would be the strength I needed to draw on to lead me or get through something else in my life.
And then I thought of the possibility, the hardest one; they simply chose not to be in “my story of us”, for reasons that I will never know.
I don’t remember asking them out loud if they wanted to be part of “my story of us”, I just assumed they would.
Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter.
I was holding them hostage to a story that either they couldn’t, wouldn’t, were never supposed to be in or simply chose not to be a part of.
It was a story that they didn’t even know I had written. It would be awful hard for them to live up to given no script.
I just assumed they would naturally want the same story.
I wasn’t angry at the specific actions or circumstances, I was angry that the actions and circumstances were keeping “my story of us” from coming to life.
I was angry because I couldn’t make it happen.
The only thing left for me to do was get rid of what was causing the anger- I had to let go of “my story of us” and accept the truth of what is.
My cast of characters; I loved them still but I did not want to hold anyone hostage to “my story of us”. If I held them hostage, that wouldn’t really be love.
So I released them from “my story of us”, let them off the hook, untethered them from me.
I spoke aloud to the air: I release you from “my story of us.” You are free.
I felt lighter. I felt freer too.
I realized at the same time that I was saying this that I had forgiven them. I also forgave me for holding them to my and my story.
Maybe you’re having trouble forgiving someone– a parent, a friend, a spouse, a child. Maybe you’re really angry and rightly so.
Maybe, you too have your own “story of us” that was playing in the background and their actions have caused you to consider that you might have to let go of that story- that you’re getting further away from it- that’s it’s not going to happen- at least not in the way you had written.
It’s always hard to let go of a dream especially if it was such a good one. It’s hard to recognize that no matter how good your story is, you can’t make anyone be in it if they don’t want to …no matter how hard you try.
I write about this because I think forgiveness is hard sometimes. Sometimes we want to forgive but we don’t know how. I’m assuming other people feel the same way.
It’s even harder when the person you are trying to forgive doesn’t realize or care that they hurt you.
Whatever, it doesn’t matter.
Maybe “my story of us” will be useful.
Maybe no one will get it.
Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It sometimes easier said than done.
Not all of us know how to do it; how to even begin- when it comes to the hard stuff.
I’m no expert, I’m just living this life, sharing my experiences and dabbling with a blog.